Three Tricks to Overcoming a Creative Block
Posted by: Tea Ho
Before I started doing client work, I thought creativity was something that just happened to you. Creativity was a butterfly that landed on your shoulder when you weren't looking. When I started doing client work, I discovered that I didn't have the luxury of time to wait for that butterfly to land on my shoulder. I had deadlines, and I was expected to just have butterflies on hand.
I've found some things help me smash my creative block.
1. Create a mind map
Do this with just simple pen and paper. I put the main concept in the center. A broad topic allows for wider range of connections.
Then, using free association, I start listing out words that I think connect to the main topic. Do this without judging. Just put thoughts down onto paper. Let the ideas flow.
Don't be afraid to branch off from the main topic if needed. Use concise words. I personally find nouns help me most with imagery.
Next, I go back and circle words that I find particularly compelling, or that I feel could fit the topic I am working with.
2. Research & find inspiration
After creating a mind map, I select one or two words or topics I want to work with. For instance, for my last project, I was creating a polling website. Through mind mapping, I decided to do a political theme.
I researched political websites, news sites, looked up infographics. I gathered images that I found and put them in a folder on my computer as easy reference.
3. Make the worst thing you can think of
Creative blocks come, I think, not from a lack of inspiration, but from a lack of commitment due to perfectionist tendencies or a fear of failure. We are surrounded by inspiration, but until we put pen to paper, cursor to screen, we can't synthesize our sources of inspiration and our own ideas. Often times, the first thing we make isn't the thing we're going to deliver, but for some reason, we always expect it to be. However, the first thing we make can help get our creative juices flowing and help us build out ideas for the next thing.
If you're still completely stuck, instead of pressuring yourself to make something perfect, give yourself the freedom to make the most ridiculous, worst, cheesiest version of the thing you need to make. Have a little fun with it. Chances are, you'll inspire yourself from the process, or at the very least, take off that pressure to make something perfect. When you're not judding your work before you've even created it, you open yourself up to ideas and possibilities.